Wakefield's next start unknown

Updated: September 22, 2009, 10:43 PM ET
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPNBoston.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tim Wakefield's season is not over, but the team still doesn't know when he will start next.

The 43-year-old Wakefield threw five innings in Monday night's 12-9 loss to the Royals. He gave up five runs and had trouble fielding his position in the rain, mostly because of the pain in his back. The disc in his back is creating pressure on a nerve and will almost certainly need surgery in the offseason.

Wakefield will not be pitching every five days, manager Terry Francona told reporters before Tuesday's game.

"We're trying to pick our spots with him," Francona said. "He's aware of that; he can't go every five days, that's not realistic. But I don't think he's walking around looking worse, which is good."

As of right now, the rotation then would remain the same; for the New York series this weekend it will likely be Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Paul Byrd. But after Byrd's start in Tuesday's game -- in which he allowed the first five runners of the game to reach and score -- perhaps he might not start on Sunday in the Bronx. From what Francona said on Tuesday, it looks like Wakefield won't be considered to start Sunday -- unless perhaps he's able to convince the staff that he can start.

"We'll monitor him all week and see how he reacts," Francona added. "And we'll check on our pitchers and try to fit him in where it works best."

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